Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

French Legal Research Guide

This in-depth guide will help researchers navigate French legal materials.

Constitution

  • 1958 Constitution:The current Constitution of French was adopted in 1958, although several subsequent amendments have been made. This Constitution is frequently referred to as the Constitution of the Fifth Republic to distinguish it from the many prior constitutions that were in effect for various historical periods. Availability for the Contitution is as follows:
    • Online from theNational Assembly as an English translation, but be aware that only theFrench original is considered the authentic text. Prepared under the joint responsibility of the Press Information and Communication Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Affairs Department of the National Assembly.
    • Constitutions of the Countries of the World: Online database from Oceana (best viewed with Internet Explorer). Contains the full text of constitutions from over 190 countries with English translations and introductory and comparative notes. Also available in the library in print: INTL K3157.A2 B54.

    Historic Constitutions:

    Revolutionary Era:

    Constitution of 1791 (available in French from the French National Assembly )
    Constitution of 1793
    Constitution of the Year III (1795) (available in French from the French National Assembly)
    Constitution of the Year VIII (1799) (available in French from the French National Assembly)
    Constitution of the Year X (1802)
    Constitution of the Year XII (1804)

    Restoration of the Monarchy:

    Constitutional Charter of 1814 (available in French from the French National Assembly)
    Charter of 1815
    Constitutional Charter of 1830 (available in French from the French National Assembly)

    19th Century:

    Constitution of 1848 - established the French Second Republic (in French from the French National Assembly)
    Constitution of 1852 - established the French Second Empire (in French from the French National Assembly)
    Constitutional Laws of 1875 - established the French Third Republic (in French from the French National Assembly)

    20th Century:

    Constitutional Law of 1940 - Vichy France (in French from the French National Assembly)
    Constitutional Law of 1945 - Provisional Government of the French Republic
    Constitution of 1946 - established the French Fourth Republic (in French)

    Constitutional Commentary:

    • The French Constitution: Its Origin and Development in the Fifth Republic, Bernard Chantebout (translated by David Grunning), KJV4074.51958 .C4813 1998
    • La Constitution de la Republique Francaise: Analyses et Commentaires, François Luchaire, Gérard Conac, Xavier Prétot, Clémence Zacharie, KJV4074.51958.A18 C66 2009